ATLANTIC CITY - Antonio DeMarco's toughness was no match for Adrien Broner's immense talent Saturday night.
Broner earned the WBC championship with a fantastic performance that produced an eighth-round TKO before a roaring crowd of 4,256 at Boardwalk Hall.
"I'm proud of DeMarco for fighting the way he fought," DeMarco's promoter, Gary Shaw said. "Very few guys could stand up to that kind of punishment. But Broner's the total package. He could be the next Floyd (Mayweather, Jr.)."
Broner (25-0, 21 KOs) a 23-year-old Cincinnati native, capped a tremendous effort with a left uppercut that thudded against DeMarco's jaw in the eighth round.
DeMarco (28-3-1, 21 KOs) staggered back and eventually dropped to one knee against the ropes. Broner joyfully danced his way into a neutral corner while referee Benjy Esteves moved toward DeMarco to begin counting. DeMarco's corner mercifully prevented him from absorbing more punishment by tossing in a white towel over DeMarco's mild protest.
"I was shaking and baking him until I flipped him up," Broner said. "I knew coming into this fight it was going to be a world-class fight. But I knew he didn't have the skills to beat me."
There was a minor controversy before the main event when DeMarco's camp complained that Broner's gloves were smaller. There was no scale to weigh the gloves in the dressing rooms - they are supposed to weight eight ounces - so DeMarco was offered the opportunity to wear the same gloves as Broner and he agreed. Both sets of gloves were pink.
Broner used his set to pepper DeMarco with jabs and straight rights in the first three rounds, producing welts under DeMarco's right eye in the early going.
If DeMarco was hurt, however, he didn't show it. The Mexican native doggedly pressed forward and managed to land his own powerful left hooks in the second and third rounds.
The action really got heated in the fourth, producing roars from the crowd. Broner repeatedly snapped DeMarco's head back with right uppercuts, but DeMarco answered with powerful straight lefts. They combined to land 58 of 123 power shots in the round, according to CompuBox Statistics.
Broner took control in the fifth, punishing DeMarco with uppercuts and straight rights that thudded against DeMarco's face and produced a bruise under his left eye to match the one under his right. Some fans cheered while others cringed at the onslaught. When the bell sounded, DeMarco walked wearily back to his corner.
He continued the onslaught in the sixth, seventh and especially in the eighth. Almost every punch found its mark. DeMarco doggedly tried to fight back, but was eventually overpowered. Broner averaged 39 power punches a round, according to CompuBox statistics. The lightweight average is 14.
"I wanted to make a statment tonight and I did," Broner said. "He was definitely the toughest opponent I've faced. He was strong and could take a punch."
In the co-feature, heavyweight Johnathon Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) scored a stunning, second-round knockout over formerly unbeaten Seth Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs).
Banks notched three knockdowns in the second round, prompting referee Eddie Cotton to halt the fight at two minutes, 38 seconds of the round. He dedicated his performance to the late trainer Emanuel Steward, who died on Oct. 25.
"I was very motivated for this fight in light of everything that has happened," Banks said. "I wasn't thinking of myself as an 'opponent' whatsoever. Mitchell is a big, tough, strong guy, but he couldn't handle me. He was not experienced enough to hold on or grab me and therefore I was able to continue to hurt him."
Mitchell, a former linebacker at Michigan State University, was heavily favored and was a crowd favorite. Six busloads of fans made the trek from his hometown of Brandywine, Md. to cheer him on.
He got off to a strong start in the scheduled 12-round fight, using his size advantage - he weighed 242 pounds to Banks' 218 - to bull his way inside and land some overhand rights and body shots. But Banks, a former cruiserweight, turned the momentum with a straight right early in the second round that dropped Mitchell on the seat of his Michigan State green trunks against the ropes.
Mitchell quickly got to his feet, but was clearly hurt. Banks kept up the pressure and sent Mitchell to the canvas again with a left hook-overhand right combination. Again, Mitchell managed to get up, but Banks unleashed another barrage and Mitchell toppled onto his side along the ropes. Cotton waved a halt to the fight as Mitchell tried to rise again, but fell back down.
"I could've gotten through the round, but the ref did what he had to do," Mitchell said. "I feel OK, he just caught me with a good shot. "I'm really upset, but this won't spoil my dreams. It will set me back a little, but don't feel sorry for me. Feel sorry for my next opponent."
Mitchell was seeking his second straight victory at Boardwalk Hall. On April 28, he recovered from a rough start against Paulsboro native Chaz Witherspoon to score a third-round TKO on the Chad Dawson-Bernard Hopkins undercard.
Golden Boy Promotions donated $2 for every ticket sold and $1,000 for every knockout on the seven-fight card to the Boys and Girls Club, which suffered extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy. Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya and host Caesars Atlantic City matched the donations. All nine bouts ended in knockouts or TKOs, thus raising $27,000 for the Boys and Girls Club.
Canadian junior-middleweight Phil Lo Greco (25-0, 14 KOs) registered a controversial TKO over Daniel Sostre (11-8-1, 4 KOs). Sostre dropped Lo Greco in the first round and was hanging tough until referee Alan Huggins stopped it in the seventh. Philadelphia middlweight Demetrius Hopkins (31-3-1, 12 KOs) earned a fifth-round TKO over York, Pa.'s Joshua Snyder (9-8-1, 5 KOs). Philadelphia junior-middleweight Julian Williams (10-0-1, 5 KOs) scored a seventh-round TKO over Jonuel Tapia (8-3-1, 5 KOs), of New York. New York welterweight Zachary Ochoa (3-0, 3 KOs) knocked out Michael Salcido (1-5), of Casa Grande, Ariz. in the first round. White Plains, Md. lightweight Terron Grant (5-0, 3 KOs) scored three knockdowns in the first round to earn a quick TKO over Mexico's Abraham Esquivel (5-3, 3 KOs) in the opening bout.
Boxing returns to Atlantic City on Feb. 23, 2013 at Bally’s Atlantic City. Wildwood light-heavyweight Chuck Mussachio (18-2-2, 5 KOs) and Atlantic City light-heavyweight Lavarn Harvell (12-0, 7 KOs) are scheduled to be on the card. Bethlehem, Pa. welterweight Ronald Cruz (17-1, 12 KOs) will headline Philadelphia promoter Russell Peltz’s show.